Studies show that more than 40 million Americans are missing all or almost all of their teeth. Dental medicine has developed a number of ways to address this problem. The two most common options are traditional adhesive dentures and dental implants. Both have their advantages as well as considerations. But which is right for you? We’ll explore that question in this post.
What Dentures Are All about
Modern dentures come in two forms: partial and full. Partial dentures are used when the patient still retains a significant number of healthy natural teeth. Full dentures are used to replace an entire row, or arch, of missing teeth.
Sometimes dentists recommend full dentures even if the patient retains a few natural teeth. This is done to make the restoration fit more comfortably. The remaining teeth are extracted. This typically requires a recovery time of several weeks, sometimes longer. In the meantime, the dental lab will be creating your dentures based on information provided by your dentist.
Once your new dentures arrive, the dentist will fit them to your gums, making minor adjustments as necessary. After that, you should expect an initial break-in process during which your mouth accustoms itself to the presence of the restoration.
How Dental Implants Work
Traditional adhesive dentures have helped countless people to enjoy better lives. But they do have their limitations. For example, they can come loose during everyday activities like eating or speaking. They require relining or replacing every few years. Also, many patients report that using dentures is difficult or uncomfortable.
Dental implants were created to give patients a better alternative. Unlike traditional dentures, they’re supported by tiny titanium filaments embedded in the jawbone itself. This gives them similar strength and resilience to healthy natural teeth. There is no need to fuss with messy creams or pastes, no need to avoid your favorite foods, and no need to use caution when speaking or singing.
The journey to getting dental implants starts with a trip to a qualified dentist in your area. He or she will perform a complete oral examination and discuss your restoration options with you at that time.
Should implants prove to be the best option in your case, then your dentist will schedule a follow-up visit for the initial surgery. The first step is to place the implants themselves. A recovery time of 2 to 3 months will follow.
When you return to your dentist, he or she will place an abutment, a small titanium fastener which will support the actual restored teeth. After the final step, you can prepare to dazzle the world with your smile.
Implant-Supported Dentures: The Best of Both Worlds
People who are suffering from total tooth loss may want to consider an implant-supported denture as a hybrid approach to dental restoration. These consist of specially made full denture plates that are held in place by a series of implants embedded throughout the jaw.
The patient can remove the appliance as needed for cleaning or other purposes. When it’s in place, it’s almost like having your natural teeth back, strong and healthy.
We should stress that only a qualified dentist can prescribe a specific course of treatment for tooth loss. Make an appointment to see one of these professional soon. Before long you’ll be well on your way to a restored smile.
About the Author
San Antonio native Dr. David Earnest is an outstanding general, cosmetic, and restorative dentist. His range of expertise includes cutting edge techniques like dentures and dental implants. You can reach his office online or by calling (830) 625-1515.